METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In an attempt to curb crowded transit in a growing community, TransLink will be testing double-decker buses on specific long-distance commuter routes throughout Metro Vancouver, starting next week.
“With that ridership growth means that crowding has to be addressed,” TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said. “These buses provide twice the capacity of the current 40-foot buses that operate on the routes that we’re going to be testing.”
British bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis has loaned two diesel double decker buses to TransLink, free of charge, which will be tested on highway routes through Richmond, Surrey, Delta and Langley over the next three months. The company has previously sold buses to Victoria, Toronto, and Ottawa.
The routes include 301 Newton Exchange, 311 Scottsdale Exchange in Delta and 351/354 White Rock/South Surrey all to Brighouse Station as well as 555Carvolth Exchange in Langley to Lougheed Station and 601/620 South Delta/Tsawwassen Ferry to Bridgeport Station.
According to the transit authority, buses on these specific routes regularly deal with overcrowding at peak times in the day. The double-deckers also provide a much smoother ride than articulated buses, according to Desmond.
Each bus has up to 86 seats with room for four mobility-assistance devices such as wheelchairs and strollers, and extra standing room. A view screen at the bottom of the stairs will let passengers know if there are seats on the upper deck, however some taller passengers may need to duck upstairs until they sit down.
“With the added capacity of these buses, it’s going to be a much needed and appreciated addition to our transportation needs in Langley,” Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese said at Thursday’s launch.
TransLink plans to buy 32 double-decker buses by 2019 as part of the Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision, and that number could be expanded to up to 60 by an unspecified date.